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With: Shawn Ashmore, Stockard Channing, Olympia Dukakis, Lucy Liu, Sandra Oh, Chloe Sevigny, Ian Roberts
Written by: Thom Fitzgerald
Directed by: Thom Fitzgerald
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 127
Date: 09/09/2005

3 Needles (2006)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Blood and Nuts

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Perhaps writer/director Thom Fitzgerald thought he could avoid the "preachy" tag on his new movie 3 Needles simply by never mentioning the term AIDS. Sadly, his idea doesn't work. This very odd triptych shows the disease's effects throughout the world. In the first story, a Chinese woman (Lucy Liu) helps run a blood-donor scam, in which she sells illegal blood on the black market, even if the means for taking that blood is not particularly clean; she and her sick husband travel from village to village, moving on after everyone contracts a disease. It turns out that she's being held hostage (?) and that she's really not a bad sort. The second story takes place in French-Canada where a male porn star (Shawn Ashmore) covers up his disease by stealing his father's blood for his monthly blood test. His mother (Stockard Channing) cooks up a life insurance scam to help them get the best things in life. Finally, three nuns (Chloe Sevigny, Sandra Oh and Olympia Dukakis) arrive in South Africa to save the souls of the afflicted. One nun, Clara (Sevigny), realizes that she can do more by influencing a rich, white plantation owner (Ian Roberts). Meanwhile, Oh and Dukakis wind up doing practically nothing. A South African rite of passage bookends the film, but doesn't really connect with anything. 3 Needles is ridden with Oscar moments -- Channing is particularly effective -- and it's gorgeously filmed, but its character logic very rarely makes any sense. Moreover, there's no focal point for the entire exercise, no place to look for blame or answers. Fitzgerald probably wanted to move and outrage his audience, but instead the cumulative effect is one of confusion. The film opens in San Francisco at the Roxie Cinema. 3 Needles

DVD Details: The 2007 DVD from Wolfe Video comes with a trailer, deleted scenes, a photo gallery, and lots of AIDS-related featurettes. It includes optional English subtitles, and trailers for other Wolfe releases.

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